Setting Up Your Personal Profile on LinkedIn
Don’t underestimate how many people will be checking you out online, and LinkedIn is definitely the easiest place to start looking. Whether you are meeting a new prospect for the first time, or have sent a connection request to someone, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will have looked you up or clicked back on your name to read your profile to find out more. Wouldn’t you?
The first thing to mention is that your profile has to be your name rather than your company name because it is you we are interesting in networking with, not your business. It is also against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions to do otherwise.
If you take a look at your own profile page now, would you be happy with how it is representing you or your company, or could it be better? I am guessing it could be a whole lot better.
It is worth investing a little time one rainy Sunday afternoon, when the rest of the family is watching a movie, to getting it right, I would suggest putting a couple of hours aside to do it, but bear in mind it is never finished. It will always be a work in progress that you will add to as time goes on to keep it fresh and update to date.
Your professional headline or title
Most people make the assumption this should simply be their title – for example, director at your company – but that doesn’t necessarily tell someone looking at your profile what it is you do. With a company name like Blue Banana, you couldn’t possibly know what the company does, unless you have heard of it, so ‘Director at Blue Banana’ means nothing.
The professional headline gives you 120 characters including spaces to work with to really create something precise, and filled with keywords if at all possible.
The image that you add of yourself should be a close-up head and shoulders, rather than a picture of you way off in the distance with your fishing rod – save that for Facebook.
When you do eventually meet up for a coffee with someone from LinkedIn, it helps to know what he or she looks like: you don’t want to rely on looking for the ‘red rose’, so to speak. Think also about the professional image your personal brand is portraying: have a photo that reflects that. Having no image gives me the impression the person doesn’t want to be seen and I wonder why. Having a great image also means you are seven times more likely to show up in the search results, so give yourself a chance.
The status update box
This box is here for you to post heaps of interesting things as and when they happen. For example, if you are being interviewed for a TV show tonight, have an article appearing in a well-known publication, are running an event, or just simply have some great news to share, this is the box to put it in, and it’s on your home page. When you update this box, simple post a teaser sentence about what it is you are sharing and a link to it. The box will automatically populate, then just click ‘share’. You can also share other files with your connections such as interesting PDFs and PowerPoint presentations here.
At the time of writing, LinkedIn had just started to roll out a longer post option within this box via the pencil icon, which means you will be able to create longer posts, add video and images to them and share your posts with your connections.
You can get a huge amount of great content to share from LinkedIn’s Pulse of newsfeed on your home page. This is where some of the best and most shared content on the web is filtered into, depending on what you opted in to receive, as well as posts from LinkedIn’s 500 Influencers around the world. These are thought leaders and businesspeople who write on the LinkedIn platform to share their wisdom with the rest of us about business topics mainly, which gives another dimension to the content available.
Some ideas you may want to share:
- articles you have written that appear online
- introducing new team members
- details about an exciting project about to start
- a job vacancy
- an upcoming TV interview
- a link to a useful YouTube video
- an upcoming event that you are running or attending.
Whatever you post in this box will appear on all of your direct connections’ home page activity, so they can see what is going on in your business life. Think of it as a rolling newsletter – so don’t post uninteresting or spamming content – and you can also tick the Twitter box to feed that same piece of information out to Twitter at the same time.
You will notice other people’s updates in your own newsfeed and under them you have some options to share:
- Like. Similar to Facebook, you can simply click on anyone’s status update’s ‘like’ button to show approval for the posting without feeling you have to leave a comment, and that puts you on their radar for a moment again.
- Comment. Feel free to leave a comment about a connection’s post, as by doing so, you are again putting yourself back on that connection’s radar and also publishing the article and comment into your own newsfeed. It’s great when people do this with your content because it really helps with the viral spread, leading to many more eyeballs taking in your post.
- Share. This gives you the ability to share the status update box content with others. You can share your connections’ content back to your own box, or share with groups that you are a member of on LinkedIn. You also have the choice of sending it as a tweet either just to your LinkedIn connections that are on Twitter, or to everyone you are connected to on Twitter: it’s a very easy way to spread exciting or useful information to others.
Ref: Marketing with Social Media: 10 Easy Steps to Success for Business, Linda Coles (2015)
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